Consumer information: European producers sign Memorandum of Understanding to provide energy value on spirit drinks

On 4 June, spiritsEUROPE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which our sector commits to provide energy information on label together with full ingredient listing and detailed product-specific information online. Signed by spiritsEUROPE President Christian Porta during the General Assembly in Paris, the document was handed-over to Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, who addressed members with a keynote speech. He underlined the fact that consumers increasingly want to be better informed about what they eat and drink so they can make healthier choices. In line with this, he called on producers to implement the MoU’s provisions along the agreed parameters and timeline.

Following a long and intense period of negotiations over the past 14 months, conducted under the direction and auspices of Commissioner Andriukaitis, the MoU’s aim is to put forward a common understanding and formulate a transparent and an ambitious self-regulatory approach that takes into account consumer information needs as well as sector-specific aspects and the existing legal framework.

The MoU goes well beyond the initial commitments made by the sector in March 2018. For the first time, the MoU foresees a highly dynamic and ambitious roll-out plan on providing energy values on label according to which one in four bottles placed on the EU market can be expected to include energy information on-label by the end of 2020 – a share that is set to rise to 50% and 66% by the end of 2021 and 2022 respectively.

For online ingredient listing, the sector will go above and beyond existing legislative obligations, committing to indicate raw materials for all mono raw material spirits categories and vodka. This work will be carried out with the support of GS1 (organisation running the barcode system). The idea is that, by the end of the implementation phase, consumers will be able to access such information directly via a smartphone scan of the barcode.

spiritsEUROPE and its members will work closely with the European Commission to monitor the impact and effectiveness of the MoU. Two meetings per year are foreseen to review and analyse the progress achieved.

The MoU is a real leap forward. It is highly ambitious in both content and timeline and will offer EU consumers real added value, providing them with the information they are looking for. We are proud about this unique and pioneering commitment and will work hard to bring it alive in practice in the months to come.

Ulrich Adam*

Director General

* in his capacity as permanent representative of SPRL ADLOR Consulting